Why you need self-care more than ever - Marcia Mediation

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This month we have a guest blog from wellness coach, Suzy Glaskie…..

We’ve all heard the saying that a divorce is right up there on the list of “most stress-inducing experiences”. And if you’re reading this, the likelihood is that you are experiencing this first-hand. You may well be engulfed in relentless waves of negative emotions. You may be wracked by fear of the future. Your self-esteem may well be at rock-bottom. At a time when you so desperately need to give yourself some help, isn’t it ironic that your self-care plummets to the very bottom of your list?

Now, let me say this loud and clear: the very best thing you can do for yourself right now is to give yourself permission to prioritise self-care.

Yes, your head may be exploding with things to sort out, but you are only human and your body is still the only place you have to live in. So, when you’re tired, give yourself permission to put your feet up or go to bed early. If your tummy’s growling and telling you that you’re hungry, don’t just ignore it and plough on. Sit down and eat. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed or sad or angry or lonely, make the time to do something nice for yourself, whether it’s a hot bath or a trip to the cinema or a solitary walk in nature…whatever makes you feel at peace.  Yes, there may be lots of tasks still to do that you didn’t get round to finishing. But guess what? They’ll be waiting for you tomorrow and you might well find yourself with a lot more energy to do them once you’ve given yourself permission for some time off.

You can start the process of mitigating your stress right now, as you’re reading this. I’m going to share with you one of my favourite practises that I teach to my clients: heart-based breathing.

Years of research show that if you have more balanced heart rhythms, you not only benefit from better brain function but lower stress hormones and a greater feeling of calm and peace. You can use this simple technique to book-end every day, or just whenever you need it. It’s brilliant to call upon when you’re hit by a draining emotion such as frustration, resentment, anxiety or anger.

You don’t need any fancy technology at all to practice this – everything you need, you have already! Heart-focused breathing is essentially about directing your attention to the heart area and breathing a little more deeply than normal.

Here’s how to do it – and it couldn’t be simpler.

Step 1: As you breathe in, imagine you are breathing in through your heart, and, as you breathe out, imagine it’s through your heart. Placing your hand over your heart as you breathe can help you in directing your focus to your heart.

Aim to breathe in about 5 seconds and breathe out 5 seconds, but don’t get too hung up on it and just find your natural rhythm.

Step 2 is this: bring to mind something or someone that you are grateful for in your life. It could be a child, a pet – or just something that makes you smile. It could be recalling something special or a wonderful place that makes you feel good. Re-experience that positive feeling now as you continue to breathe deeply.

You can do this for as little as 3 – 5 minutes a day and reap massive benefits to your health and wellbeing. Or do it for longer if you like.

Practice this regularly and, no matter what else you are confronted with, you’ll have an ever-accessible key to feeling calm and grounded.

Suzy Glaskie is one of the UK’s first Functional Medicine Certified Health Coaches. She works with individuals, groups and organisations to empower people to reclaim their health and vitality. You can follow Suzy’s blog at www.peppermintwellness.co.uk where you can download her free “9 habits of healthy shoppers” guide.